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Tech Warped brake pads

Yamabushi

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Jun 1, 2010
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Just for clarification, I am extremely happy with top level braking performance that I am getting with my DA brakes, DA wheels, and SwissStop GHPII pads. If I may be immodest for a moment, I think that can clearly be seen in my smooth, safe, and fast descending. Beyond that, I completely agree with James that proper braking technique and proper brake setup and maintenance is of utmost important if you want the pinnacle of performance and safety.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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I think that can clearly be seen in my smooth, safe, and fast descending.

It certainly can! Not only for the fact that no-one else is allowed to go first, so we all get to witness your excellent descending skills.

Give it a year, and you will all be copying my awesome technique though; blast at the corner as fast as possible, hammer the brakes, then power out pretty much sprinting into the next corner. Repeat.
 

leicaman

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Sep 20, 2012
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Speak English man.

@wexford I wasn't really asking anyone exactly

I just don't really understand peoples' problems with braking (dry conditions).

I've never had any problems with modulation at all. I pull the brake a little, it slows me down a little. I pull it a lot, it slows me down a lot. I very much agree with @FarEast. @AlanW ill take your word for it regarding the Zipps. I'll never be able to afford a pair unfortunately.
 

Doug3

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Jun 24, 2010
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More modulation- just undo your brakes and stop having them bite 0.01mm away from the rim like a disgusting cringe.

If by "undo your brakes" you mean to have them farther from the rim, I am not 100% sure I understand how changing the distance between the pad and rim surface effects modulation. The 2 cases where that may make sense to me is if:

1. The brake lever has some cam mechanism to change the travel of the brake cable in some non-linear fashion. i.e. when you first pull the lever the cable moves further than it does as the lever gets close to the bar. I do not think my SRAM Red or Ultegra 6800's operate in that manner.

2. The fluid/substance in the gap between the pads and rim had a much, much higher density than air (or even water for that matter). Not a likely scenario but could happen in some MTB or CX applications.

For me, modulation is the single most important aspect of braking performance, which is primarily influenced by the compressibility of the cable housing, modulus of the cable material, distance between lever and caliper (front feeling different than back), lack of play/flex in the caliper, coefficient of friction between the brake pads and rim and how that changes with temperature, density/compressibility of the pads and their cohesiveness, the ability of the braking surface to dissipate heat, and having the neurological ability to grip/ungrip your fingers while receiving feedback regarding the amount of force being applied to the lever (watch out for cold hands or other numbness), which in conjunction with the tire and road characteristics (a whole 'nother discussion) allows threshold braking for the experienced, and even trail braking for the godlike, which when combined with an eye for reading the road will result in safe and quick descending.

I think these stopping and descending skills are best learned on surfaces where there is a low coefficient of static friction, i.e. MTB on loose gravel roads closed to traffic or your road bike in the snow, allowing you to more easily see the limits. OF course safety is your number one priority, so learning where the limits are will increase confidence, and more importantly, give you an extra edge if faced with an emergency situation.
 

wexford

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Jul 3, 2012
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Nice notes. I wasn't aware of a tool for proper (perfect) toe. Interesting. Graphite eraser is also an interesting suggestion. Cool.

Instant braking improvement:
  • Clean your braking surface with a graphite eraser so they reflect your manliness in all its glory
  • Use the Park Tool or Elite Brake calibration tool for perfect toe-in set up.
  • Replace your brake cables annually
  • Clean your brake pads when you clean the bike and adjust toe-in as well as offset
READ THE ROAD AND LEARN TO BRAKE PROPERLY!
 

wexford

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Jul 3, 2012
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Doug - I wasn't aware that the godlike trail braked. I consider it a bad habit that I've carried over from racing cars. I'm not even a fast descender. Interesting to see you mention it.
 

AlanW

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Jan 30, 2007
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Cower now, brief mortals! for I am the God of trail-braking! ;)

As far as brake setup goes; I like my brakes with a fair bit of movement before the pad hits the rim - the reason being this brings the brake lever much closer to the bar when the pads hit. Sure, it feels worse in the car-park brake squeeze test (and gets @TCC 's goat) but it's a lot less fatiguing to apply pressure with a closed grip rather than stretched out fingers.
 

leicaman

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Sep 20, 2012
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@Doug3 im not sure what you mean regarding your second point. What fluid/substance between the pad and the rim are you talking about?

@AlanW actually @TCC rides his brakes like you. There is a lot of travel in his lever before the pad touches his rim. I actually prefer it the other way around with as little travel as possible before it bite, something TCC doesn't like. Personally I think you are both girls for riding like this ;)
 

Doug3

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Jun 24, 2010
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Doug - I wasn't aware that the godlike trail braked. I consider it a bad habit that I've carried over from racing cars. I'm not even a fast descender. Interesting to see you mention it.

I think it is especially useful for multi-apex and decreasing radius turns. However there is a greater danger of low-siding the front, or having carried too much speed into the corner running wide.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
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Are some rims or rim materials or braking devices more sensitive to 'proper' toe-in than others? I ask because I've never felt a need to adjust this since about 1987. I just mount the brakes parallel with the rim, on all my wheels. Never had a squeaking or stopping problem - that is, a problem due to the brakes, rather than the operator.
 

Doug3

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Jun 24, 2010
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@Doug3 im not sure what you mean regarding your second point. What fluid/substance between the pad and the rim are you talking about?
Sorry, it was a bit tongue in cheek. I think in theory if there were a very very dense/viscous fluid between the pad and rim surface, then the distance of the gap could affect modulation of the amount of force applied to the rim before the pad touches, kind of like the compressibility of the brake housing or break pad, but because it is air, it really should have no effect.

If you were riding CX in the winter and a chunk of ice (mud, stick, leaves, etc) somehow lodged in the gap, that would likely change the modulation.
 

wexford

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Jul 3, 2012
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Are some rims or rim materials or braking devices more sensitive to 'proper' toe-in than others? I ask because I've never felt a need to adjust this since about 1987. I just mount the brakes parallel with the rim, on all my wheels. Never had a squeaking or stopping problem - that is, a problem due to the brakes, rather than the operator.

I use a tiny bit of toe in only because it's less pad biting the rim until I pull harder. That's where I look for extra modulation. Too much toe is not going to stop you so well. Parallel pads should work just fine.

1987? Hmmm. Stephen Roche won the triple crown.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
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Cower now, brief mortals! for I am the God of trail-braking! ;)

As far as brake setup goes; I like my brakes with a fair bit of movement before the pad hits the rim - the reason being this brings the brake lever much closer to the bar when the pads hit. Sure, it feels worse in the car-park brake squeeze test (and gets @TCC 's goat) but it's a lot less fatiguing to apply pressure with a closed grip rather than stretched out fingers.

Nah mate, like @leicaman says, I reckon we are into the same kind of set up. Brakes biting as late as possible. I like them like this for a number of reasons;

1. It is better, and feels like your bike isn't some 500 quid heap of sh1t.
2. I, and I suspect all of you poofters, can exert a hell of a lot more consistent force, the closer my hands are to a clenched fist. Having the brakes biting really close to the rim, with not much travel in the stroke, means that they reach skidding point when my grip is half open, which is rubbish / is gypo.
3. By having them biting as late as possible, I can use my hands a lot more to modulate, rather than buggering about worrying about what the cam ratio of this and that brake is capable of, etc.

tl;dr if you have your brakes biting early, you are basically saying that you are a regular donater to StormFront, and also enjoy stamping on kittens in front of young children. I can't believe the nerve of some people.
 

AlanW

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Jan 30, 2007
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Nah mate, like @leicaman says, I reckon we are into the same kind of set up. Brakes biting as late as possible. I like them like this for a number of reasons;

1. It is better, and feels like your bike isn't some 500 quid heap of sh1t.
2. I, and I suspect all of you poofters, can exert a hell of a lot more consistent force, the closer my hands are to a clenched fist. Having the brakes biting really close to the rim, with not much travel in the stroke, means that they reach skidding point when my grip is half open, which is rubbish / is gypo.
3. By having them biting as late as possible, I can use my hands a lot more to modulate, rather than buggering about worrying about what the cam ratio of this and that brake is capable of, etc.

tl;dr if you have your brakes biting early, you are basically saying that you are a regular donater to StormFront, and also enjoy stamping on kittens in front of young children. I can't believe the nerve of some people.

That's right, we can save our grip strength for more manly pursuits.....
 

Gunjira

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Oct 2, 2009
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Well, if you need to brake that much I guess you need to clench fists, I don't. Pads are out just enough not to rub when sprinting.
 
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